Thursday, March 05, 2009

 

If CanWest had been doing its job, maybe BC wouldn't be in this mess. Note the important Media Advisory added March 6 ...

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It started off OK ... remember that full front page of Vancouver Sun completely taken up by those 27 Questions, perfectly reflecting the frightened thoughts of British Columbians whose Legislature had just been taken over by police?

For a while, things were as they should be, with BC's flagship newspaper giving voice and quite a bit of printer's ink to major concerns, such as "Was organized crime operating within the BC Legislature?". Then, within a year, any mention of the historic raid had almost stopped.

What happened? What went wrong? Why were British Columbians -- so uniquely dependent upon CanWest for almost all news -- left in the dark? Or worse: told that 30 uniformed police sergeants hauling files out of their Legislature was nothing to worry about?

Two examples:

1) Les Leyne's column on March 3, 2009 in Times Colonist says it all in its title: "BC Rail Case buried in political trivia." Political trivia, eh? Yeah, sure. "Nuthin' to see here, folks, just keep movin' along please ...." Thanks a lot, CanWest.

2) The Jasmohan Singh Bains trial, about which CanWest published nothing for 6 months. Then an astute citizen overheard a remark about it during a Basi Virk hearing (Dec. 2008). He looked around the Supreme Courtroom, saw no media, and decided to tell BC Mary.

Frankly, I couldn't believe it. It took me 2 days to verify the story ... scarcely believing my own eyes when I found it was true: the Bains trial had taken place in Victoria in June 2008 ... just down the street from the Times Colonist newspaper office. And not a word had been published in 6 months. Nothing.

Why do I think that's significant? Very, very significant? Because:

* it was Jasmohan Singh Bains and others, who police were investigating when they raided the BC Legislature.

* it was while police listened to wiretap conversations between Bains and Dave Basi that they heard of BC Rail hanky-panky.

* Bains, at the time, was thought to be Mr Big of Drugs Trafficking on the West Coast.

That's why.

And that is one hell of a lot: Especially now in the first third of the new year when shootings and killings in the Lower Mainland are a regular, almost daily occurrence. And when B.C. is being linked to the huge drug cartels causing Mexico's apparent meltdown.

You think maybe the people of B C are concerned? You think maybe they expect their media to make an attempt at covering more than the self-serving news releases of police forces (police which are clearly out of their depth)? You think people haven't noticed elsewhere that "Gang violence in B.C. is linked to Mexico drug wars"?

Well ... I broke the Bains story on Dec. 11, 2008. Not CanWest. BC Mary broke "Mr Big's" story right here on The Legislature Raids. My headline read: JASMOHAN SINGH BAINS SENTENCED TO 9 YEARS and I fully expected Google to pick that up, and that the wider public would be informed. Ha! Apparently that's not how it works in B.C. anymore.


Two more Bains-less months passed by quietly. Plenty of street chaos, nothing about Mr Big.

Quietly - except on the streets of the Lower Mainland and the suburban expanses of the Fraser Valley. There the silence continued to be broken by the wail of sirens and the chatter of small arms fire. [Tell me something: do we honestly imagine that criminals don't know the Bains story? and that they don't high-five and rejoice in their apparent immunity?]

Then something I said to Ian Mulgrew caught his attention. He promptly wrote a column headlined: "Drug dealer linked to legislature raid imprisoned" and gave me credit as his source.

God knows how Mulgrew -- calling the trial "a key victory against a cocaine ring" -- got his column past all the roadblocks and into print, because it hadn't happened before and it has never happened since. To this day, nobody mentions it in CanWest print. But I'm pleased that many other, small news media have reprinted the story.

We'll hear more about Bains during the Basi Virk Basi / BC Rail trial. The thing is: we'll probably have to be there in the courtroom to hear it, or we'll have to read about it on these blogs. That is, unless a new owner is publishing The Vancouver Sun, The Province, or Times Colonist.

So ... doesn't this explain why CanWest news media is facing such a drastic financial crisis right now? Isn't it proof that they can't fool all of the people, all of the time? And that maybe they should stop telling people that 8,000 pages of confidential government documents (which they obviously hadn't read yet) are trivial.

Let no one forget that all 8,000 of those secret government documents are available now, at only a five minute walk from Sun and Province headquarters ... but not one serious story (not even a ensible word!) has been published by CanWest.

Time for CanWest to notice that people are mad as hell and they aren't going to take this kind of "news" any longer. CanWest has been part of the problem in B.C. Now it's time for a genuine news service to become part of the solution.

- BC Mary and friends.

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SOMETHING TO WATCH FOR:
A Media Advisory from the Loyal Opposition!



Keep an eye on CanWest today, March 6, and for the next day or two ... see if they make any mention whatever of what Leonard Krog is doing.

Today, at an Open House in Vancouver, Krog had the 15 binders of secret government documents organized and available for media viewing and photocopying.

Research staff were on hand, photocopies were prepared on the spot -- or even in advance if requests were phoned in -- and Krog was there in the afternoon to answer questions relating to the 8,000 pages obtained by Defence lawyers as Freedom of Information requests.

“... These documents shed some light on the B.C. Rail corruption scandal, and the public deserves to have access to this information,” New Democrat Attorney General critic Leonard Krog said.

The New Democrats have now digitised the documents and posted them at http://www.bcndpcaucus.ca/en/bcrailcorruption.



A hyperlink will also be functioning later this afternoon which posts all of the 8000 pages - including Yvette Wells "little black book" which was included in the NDP media packages today (around 200 pages) WWW.BCNDPCAUCUS.CA/EN/09FOI


Leonard Krog is Opposition critic for the Attorney General's department.

I think the BC Opposition has provided an absolutely marvelous public service. Civilized, well-planned, helpful to media but not pushy, and sensitive to the public's need to know.

Now ... will Big Media stand up and do their duty? Will CanWest follow through with reports for the public? Probably not. But ...

Tip o'the ol' Tuque for Krog and the Loyal Opposition, eh. Well done, all! - BC Mary.

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Comments:
Darned fine Editorial Mary!

A keeper for sure.


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After thinking about your piece a little bit I am starting to wonder if, maybe, Mr. Baldrey had it wrong....Specifically, perhaps it is he and his (ie. not us) who have formed a 'cult'.

Ya, that's the ticket.

'The Cult of The Willful Ostriches!'

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Canwest has been doing its job, all you have to know is where they stand when it comes to which political party they donated to, for example:

Elections BC Political Contribution System.


Contributor Name: CANWEST MEDIA INC

Date: 2005/05/11

Amount: $50,000

Affiliation: BC Liberal Party
 
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Oh no, NVGrumps ... no, no, no no! That is not the job of CanWest.

Have a look at Les Leyne's column today in Times Colonist, in which he talks about the government's Public Affairs Bureau. Fulltime staff: 223. Annual budget: $28 million. Job description: make Premier Gamble's government look good. Same thing.

People are paying for both - and expecting something which they have every right to expect but which they have been cheated out of.

I know you're kidding. But it's too doggone cruel in its final effects.

Sorry, you're in the doghouse for the rest of the day.

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"Now it's time for a genuine news service to become part of the solution.'
You are the most genuine News service therefore the solution.
And I am sure your readers agree.

you have a network of
people that see in you , integrity of the trade.
 
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That's a wonderfully encouraging thing to say, 10:03 ... thank you.
 
http://www.bcndpcaucus.ca/en/bcrailcorruption
 
I agree with 10:03.
 
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